Billions of desires constantly seem to flow through us.
Using memory, the character seems to be “there” somehow-just as we know a rock, though unseen, to be underneath a churning part of a stream. Even though the churning water constantly differs in its frothing formations, we know something about the rock’s size and general shape by the size of the area of churning and shape of the hump of the water.
Just so, do we find ourselves (our personalities, our characters) to be hidden rocky paradigms beneath a surface of roiling desires. How those desires appear to us is determined by the shape of our “inner rock.”
The ego “loves” to “jump in” and “say”:
“There, that’s me-just beneath all this frothing in my mindstream. See how I am steady and unchanging, and see how much I determine the nature of frothing? This proves that I won’t die, because I am beyond the ever changing nature of the froth.”
This is the ego’s “trump card”-an intellectual conclusion that there are slight similarities across ever changing patterns of desires. And this is the closest the ego can ever get to being enlightened-that is, an utter failure to do so while remaining confident in its assertion of being the sentient entity that receives all our experiences.
The ego does recognize the challenge to its doership represented by the completely unpredictable nature of the froth from one moment to the next. It admits to this unpredictability, but asserts that because it can seem to change the frothing-even a little bit, it can claim that it has the power to thus change all “its” frothing. Denial sets in when we say: “I could change it all IF I WANTED TO do so,” but seldom do we own the kinds of personalities that are willing to use the psychological and spiritual tools necessary to change the rock very much.
Typically we do not comprehend how large a project “self improvement” is. The amount of work that must be done to effect general changes in our personalities is huge. The ego, of course, can be found discounting and pooh-poohing this great task by supporting the unsubstantiated belief that we CAN EASILY consistently WANT change of any particular kind. The ego pretends that even a little of this “wanting to change myself” effort moves mountains-even when we are so constantly inundated otherwise with so many other types of “wantings” which compete for our attention. Walter is content to make only a slight gesture of improving his diet. Just so, most of us. When we look at our past attempts to consistently focus our minds and produce certain thought patterns, to consistently intend, to consistently put our attention on a particular issue, we find that such “projects” are challenged by all our other divisive and distracting willings, intendings and attendings-to say nothing of the call of pizza, chips, ice cream, cola, fries, doughnuts, cake, pie, lasagna, chocolates, cookies, eclairs, tarts and fresh strawberry short cake!
Like Walter, we can easily succumb to rationalizing even feeble efforts as having almost magical efficaciousness. Walter thinks, “One leaf balances all the other negative nutritional influences,” and so too can we find ourselves believing something like “An affirmation per day keeps me moving on my way” or some other such whistling past the graveyard.
Self improvement and the eventual realization of your true self, the witness, is so overwhelming a task, that we take various stances which support NEVER starting this huge task. Such as: “I love my froth.” or “I just change the parts of the froth that I need to.” or “Be with the Froth, Luke. Go with the Froth.” or “By just changing this one part to the froth, I am protected from any harm of the other froth.” or “I am working on the rock and the froth will take care of itself.” or “I froth therefore I am..” or “I froth daily to the Lord of Froth who will Froth me-pretty soon I hope.” or “I am that which is beyond frothing and could care less about it.”
These momentary “attitude proclamations” are but SINGLE THOUGHTS in a global-psychologically and physically-maelstrom of thinking/experiencing (frothing.) These single thoughts are in fact themselves mere froth too. We intuitively know the challenge that faces us but can find ourselves in denial rather than intending to honestly face how much work is to be done to change the personality-rock beneath our mindstream’s frothings. When faced with this challenge we can find ourselves using whistling (one leaf solves all) in the hopes that this will to show such bravado that the wraiths of psychological problems (ghosts in the graveyard) will not pounce on us-because, we reason, they are somehow temporarily wracked with consternation at our nonplussed verve in the face of such might!
The truth is that we can change our froth completely if we are willing to do a lot of work. Yes, the rock can be affected directly with spiritual techniques-especially super-powerful techniques like “getting a good night’s sleep,” but, the common fact is that the roiling froth continues to not “meet with our approvals.” Our desires, our patterns, “fight against” themselves in an ongoing inner battle of conflicting values.
What to do?
“Placing the attention” is the character’s incredibly powerful tool. We can attend to anything (thing, not the witness.) This is the power of the character. Whenever Universal Consciousness creates the illusion that a personality is changing itself in a deep manner, it almost always involves the character’s attending processes.
By persistently attending, we are practicing being “in cahoots” with Universal Consciousness as much as a character can pretend this. Whenever the character puts its attention on an issue, it is found that the issue develops, evolves, changes, grows, magnifies, etc. This power of the character allows it to “spray attention”-like using a garden hose upon specific plants-on the issues it wants to nourish (resolve.) Gradually, by doing this, the character “realizes” the power of attention to transform, improve and create choices for the character.
Curiously, the more the character does this “watering,” that is, the more the character attends on purpose, then the more it develops a pattern of thinking that is described as an “understanding my life (my froth.)” This “understanding” is actually a CHANGE IN THE ROCK’S SHAPE. When we put our attention on our patterns-even the rock’s patterns-they change, grow, move, improve, etc.
Therefore, attend to your patterns. This is how the character aligns itself with Universal Consciousness and simultaneously changes the deepest nature (rocks) of its own patterns. The extra bonus payoff is that the character feels empowered-especially after a lot of success and change has been seen, and even the ego is satisfied with this.
By attending consistently and by practicing the focusing of attending onto the character’s patterns, then gradually, from the character’s point of view, the attending process becomes an all time reality-because it is being “used” unwaveringly across all patterns, all frothing, all rocking. This is a symbolic unity of the character with the omnipresent nature of Universal Consciousness. This is the only way that the character can symbolize the reflecting of the witness. This is the character seeming to be a direct representative of Universal Consciousness. This is the character becoming “peaceful” as it gradually realizes the all powerful nature of the attention to affect change and to always be there. This empowerment reduces the inner dissonance.
Along with peace, clarity comes, and with clarity comes even more peace of mind, and, finally, with enough quiescence in your nervous system comes the ability to more easily attend to the sense of presence within, and from there you find that a leaping “out of the character” happens and your only and always and true status as the witness is realized.
Am I up to this? Isn’t just thinking about this stuff enough? Do I have to spend thousands of hours of work on my issues, my morals, my intent, my EVERYTHING to reach peace of mind?
Am I honest enough to do this?
Should I do this? Why not just lead a life of inner dissonance? After all, once I die, I’ll be, once again, purely the witness, so why even bother trying to get my character aligned with some zeitgeist of esoteric assertions? Is it worth diving into this understanding as deeply as these Consciousness Exercises can take me?
How would it feel to find perfect peace and unity with the most basic axioms of consciousness?
Is that a nice way to die?